Still Watching the Skies: Episode 75 “Southland Tales”
SOUTHLAND TALES arrives to confound and intrigue Cody, Robert, Nat, and special guest Patrick Ripoll from Tracks of the Damned. So, buckle yourself in as we tackle Richard Kelly’s followup to DONNIE DARKO.
SOUTHLAND TALES was released in 2006, during George W. Bush’s presidency when the occupation in Iraq was going south and it looked like we were going to be trapped in an endless “War on Terror”. Richard Kelly clearly wanted to critique this period in American history by presenting a near-future dystopia with America on the verge on all out collapse. History had other thoughts.
SOUTHLAND TALES captures a moment in time. When was the last time that Dwayne Johnson, now a big star, would take on a project this ambitious and risky? There’s a sprawling cast, including Seann William Scott, Justin Timberlake, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Natasha Richardson, Amy Poehler, Jon Lovitz, Bai Ling, John Larroquette, Mandy Moore, Zelda Rubinstein, Kevin Smith, and many others. Combine all that with a trippy, satirical approach obviously inspired by Philip K. Dick, and a smidgen of WATCHMEN, and there’s a lot to discuss.
There’s no denying that SOUTHLAND TALES is ambitious. But is it successful? Pay no mind to getting booed at Cannes, that’s often a badge of honor, but SOUTHLAND TALES certainly has a complicated and contentious reputation. Is it Richard Kelly’s ultimate folly? A brilliant film in need of rediscovery? Somewhere in between?
So we try to unpack SOUTHLAND TALES in all its messy glory. What is it trying to say about America? What works? What doesn’t? Why all the SNL alums? And, what the heck is up with that ending?
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SOUTHLAND TALES: 0:00 to 1:28:21
NEXT FILM : 1:28:21 to End
Next month, it’s HIGH NOON in space, I we take a look at 1981’s OUTLAND starring Sean Connery. Connery was a legendary movie star and I’m sure we’ll have a lot to say. We hope you’ll join us.